Donald Keith Bates was born April 7, 1949 to H. Keith and Ethel (Kavanagh) Bates in Kearney, Nebraska. He lived with his family in Elm Creek for a brief time until they moved to Elk Creek, Nebraska.  Don attended Elk Creek Schools, graduating with the Class of 1967.  He played football for the Antlers and excelled in track, where he ran the 100, the 220 and was part of the 880 relay team.  After graduation, Don attended Peru State College and later the Institute of Electronic/Computer Programming in Omaha.

He was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Glenda Heuke on January 22, 1971 at the Martin Luther Church, rural Johnson, Nebraska.  This union was blessed with two sons, Greg and Luke. Don worked as a mechanic for Northern Natural Gas in Omaha where he and Glenda lived for 13 years, until moving back to Elk Creek in 1983 to raise their sons.  After returning home, Don worked for Hoke Construction until starting his own carpentry business, and later his own mechanic shop until his retirement in 2017. 

Don served on the Village Board, Elk Creek School Board and Elk Creek Fire Department.  He helped coach his son’s baseball teams, and participated in the Elk Creek Alumni Plays for many years.  One of his hobbies was wood-working restoration and refinishing furniture in his spare time.  He liked to mow his grass, had a great sense of humor, loved joking with his friends and especially loved seeing his grandchildren and being their grand-dad! 

He passed away Sunday, June 16, 2024 (Father’s Day) at his home in Elk Creek, at the age of 75 years.

Don is survived by his loving wife Glenda, sons Greg (Holly) and Luke (Angela), grandchildren Keith and Reagan, sister Barbara Schultz, many nieces and nephews, sisters-in-law, Sharon Kvalevog of N.C., Donna Wlodarski (Walter) of N.J. and Colleen Othmer of Lincoln and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Steve Bates, sister Maudie Wheeler, brothers-in-law Bill Othmer, Dean Wheeler, Andy Schultz and Robert Kvalevog, nephew Drew Schultz and parents-in-law, Wilbur and Leola Heuke.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 20, 2024 at the Wherry Mortuary in Tecumseh, Nebraska with Pastor Ken Tubbesing officiating.

Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with family greeting friends from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at the Wherry Mortuary in Tecumseh, Nebraska.

Memorials may go to the family’s choice.

A reception will follow service at the Elk Creek Fire Hall.  

Inurnment will be in the Mount Hope Cemetery, Elk Creek, Nebraska at a later date.

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